My uncle was nominated by his siblings to register my granny 's house under his name after she passed away because he was the eldest. My uncle also passed away, a few years later while he was married in community of property. Can the remaining siblings claim back the house or change the tittle deed of my granny 's house?

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Mahlehle, thanks for coming back and providing answers to help clarify the situation. Unfortunately, I think the issue is even more complicated than I suspected. Sorry - I was hoping it wouldn't be.

And I apologize for repeating previous suggestions, but I think it's appropriate now that we have more information.

First, since GM didn't have a will, her assets (if any) should have been treated in accordance with the intestacy laws of the state in which GM resided. As FF suggests, there should have been a probate proceeding opened to distribute the assets (including ownership of the house). Apparently this wasn't done, so that helps cloud the issues. No criticism here, just an observation.

With only 2 of the 4 siblings agreeing that your uncle had "permission to have the house registered under his name," the issue also reverts to the intestacy laws, i.e., who would be in line to inherit absent a properly executed will.

If all 4 siblings would have inherited, and only 2 gave permission, the question arises whether that permission has any legal effect at all.

The question could arise as to if any of them, or just 2 of them were in line to inherit, or was it just 1, or 3, or all 4. If the last option, then not all of the heirs agreed to your uncle's assumption of the house.

In addition, do you know if there ever was any kind of deed - Quit Claim or Warranty? I rather doubt it, and suspect that Uncle just moved in.

Another question is any statute of limitations on contest of asset division. That would turn on your state's laws.

On to your Uncle: At this point, I would think that he doesn't even have legitimate title to the house, and it's not really his to dispose of.

However, there are some rights of inheritance and ownership that I recall, but not specifically. I think they're a form of "reversionary rights." The experience I had was when I was working in commercial real estate for a major law firm. An adjoining property owner had placed a fence on property our client was buying.

An issue arose whether the fence was rightfully owned by the neighbor who erected it, or by the entity from which our client was purchasing the property.

What I do NOT know is how this concept might apply to title, and whether or not there's a statute of limitations. I.e., after some number of years, title to the fence might have reverted to the neighbor, or to the owner who was selling. I just don't remember all the issues.

In your situation, if your uncle lived in the house for a given time, there might be some reversionary right for a tenant, which he probably was rather than an owner. And that would probably turn on state law.

This is definitely an issue for someone very experienced in residential real property transactions. A real estate attorney with commercial background could handle it as well, but residential would be preferred.

That attorney would probably have to research your state's statutes to determine whether or not GM still would have, and still does (even though she's deceased) still hold title. This is a MAJOR issue to be addressed. It's not insurmountable, but it's murky and you need clarification before going forward.

There's a possibility that your Uncle may even be considered a tenant, and might have no authority at all to convey the house.

Then there's the issue of any siblings living in the house and their rights as tenants, especially if not all the surviving siblings want these "tenants" to be conveyed legal title.

If this doesn't make sense, please feel free to ask questions. It's a convoluted situation and it took me some time just to conceptualize what might need to be done.

But at this point, I think it's fair to say that no one can execute a deed or convey property to the tenant siblings, because it's not clear who has title to convey, or who might have tenant rights to extinguish.

I don't see any solution except to hire a real estate attorney, in your state. As I wrote earlier, I also think it wouldn't hurt to have that attorney order not just a title search but rather a foreclosure search to determine who has interests that might need to be extinguished, as well as who might have even have an interest to convey, and I think that's a real possibility.

There are just too many unknowns for anyone to attempt to convey property when it's not even clear who legally owns the property.

I suspect also that you may have to open a small Probate case, but I'm also not sure if that can be done over 20 years after someone dies.

Good luck. And please let us know what the attorney advises. This is a really interesting situation.
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Mahlehle, normally after the passing of a person, with or without a Will, one has to sign up with the County Probate division unless everything was in joint ownership. Thus a Judge would decide according to State laws who gets the house, if there was no Will.

If all your Grandmother's children got equal shares of the house all of their names should have been on the Deed. But i can understand the siblings wanting the oldest sibling on the Deed, they weren't familiar with the complexities that would result later on.

What has the Probate Judge ruled in the situation regarding your Uncle or are his assets still pending, assets that weren't jointly held between him and his wife?

I would suggest the siblings all chip in an hire either an Elder Law Attorney or a Real Estate Attorney to unravel this complex situation. Having another sibling living in the house makes me wonder what the other siblings feel about this sibling having the whole share of the house?
Helpful Answer (1)

Both my grandmother and my uncle did not have a will. from what I saw only 2 out of 4 siblings signed a letter that gave my uncle permission to have the house registered under his name.

in terms of the bills of the house, all the sibling's names appear on the payment register/list meaning everyone helped in paying the bills of the house.

in year 1997/1998 my uncle moved out of the house and bought himself a new house.

we want the house to be given back to one of the siblings who are currently staying in the house.
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This isn't a criticism, but my first thought was whether or not any of this actually took place properly and is of record, because "nomination" of someone after the apparent owner's death is not the proper way to transfer title, regardless of whether the siblings wanted your uncle to have the property.

Title can't be "registered"; it technically has to be conveyed by the person(s) who holds title legally and properly, and the conveyance document (should have been a warranty deed) is what's registered with an appropriate county office.

Is this what you meant to describe happened after your grandmother died?

Did your grandmother have a will, and if so, to whom did she want to house conveyed? Did she have an executor or executrix or personal rep of her will to carry out her wishes?

If your grandmother died intestate (w/o a will), state law would designate who would inherit the home.

Was a deed ever in fact recorded? Your term "issued" in describing the deed suggests to me that there was some court involvement, and that perhaps an appointed executor, etc. was involved, and that a deed was drafted and recorded pursuant to that probate proceeding.

If so, and if title to the property was properly conveyed to your uncle, then similar issues arise now. Did he have a will and/or did he specifically designate anyone to inherit the property?

If so, whoever was the PR, executor or executrix should have handled any conveyance.

Siblings can't just "claim" a property back. I assume you don't want your aunt to become owner of the property?

Someone needs to have a title search done either by a real estate attorney who orders it or directly by a title company (although in my experience title companies prefer to work with commercial clients rather than individuals). The records need to be searched to determine what deeds might have been filed after your grandmother's death, and what might need to be done to clear the "clouds" from title (an expression used in the title industry when title isn't clear as to transactions, interest, ownership, etc.)

It might even be advisable for an attorney to order a foreclosure search to determine who has interests and whether or not they need to be extinguished (closed out, for lack of a better nonlegal term) in order to clear title and convey either to someone designated in your uncle's will (or even as far back as your grandmother's will), or pursuant either to intestacy or community spouse laws.

I have a feeling that issues like conveyance were handled somewhat informally and that perhaps the requisite documentation was never created or filed. Again, that's not a criticism, just an observation. But it does complicate the issue.

Mahlehle, I think the first order of business is to get the property tax bills, get the Sidwell (property) number, go to the register of deeds or other office that records property records, and get copies of any documents filed after your grandmother's death. (I'm assuming that she legally held title; if not, that's another dimension of clarification before anything can be done.)

The property tax bills will be helpful to determine who's been paying the taxes since your grandmother's death. But you still need a title search, and this is best ordered by an attorney.

Regardless, deeds can't be revoked unless fraud or other improper or illegal activity has occurred.
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What was written in your Uncle's Will about the house?
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